|Born||May 18, 1962
San Diego, California
|Died||February 17, 2009
Solana Beach, California
Michael John "Mike" Whitmarsh (May 18, 1962 – February 17, 2009) was an American volleyball player, who won the silver medal in the men's inaugural beach volleyball tournament at the 1996 Summer Olympics, partnering Mike Dodd. He was born in San Diego, California, graduated from Monte Vista High School in nearby Spring Valley, and then attended the University of San Diego. Throughout his career he earned over $1.5 million, as well as 28 titles.
The 6' 7" Whitmarsh played college basketball at the University of San Diego and was drafted by the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers in the fifth round in 1984. He also narrowly missed making the roster of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and played professionally in Germany for three years before abandoning basketball in favor of beach volleyball. Transitioning from the indoor hard court to the soft sand of beach volleyball (which is often played under hot and humid conditions) was not easy, and he developed a reputation for cramping late in tournaments. His leg cramps were so bad that he often required an I.V. to rehydrate and equalize his chemical balance.
Whitmarsh was in the midst of a divorce from his wife Cindy and was found dead in a friend's garage on Wednesday, February 17, 2009, leaving behind two young daughters. According to the San Diego County medical examiner, he had committed suicide from inhalation of carbon monoxide from automobile exhaust.
Awards and honors
- AVP Rookie of the Year 1990
- AVP King of the Beach 2000
- AVP Best Blocker 2002
- AVP Lifetime Achievement 2004
- AVP Role Model Award 2003
- AVP Special Achievement 2003
- 1984 NBA Draft, basketballreference.com
- Perry, Tony (2009-02-19). "Mike Whitmarsh dies at 46; Olympic medalist in beach volleyball". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
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